By CHRISTIANA EKPA, Abuja
The Senate has ordered its committee on Procurement; Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to carry out comprehensive investigation into allegation of N8.7 billion contract scam in the Code of Conduct Bureau ( CCB).
The Senate adopted a motion sponsored by Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West), which frowned at alleged misappropriation and abuse of due processes in two sepearate contracts amounting to N8 billion and N4.4 billion each for the purpose of building and acquiring permanant official residence for the CCB.
The Senate directed its committees on Procurement; Ethics, Priviledges and Public Peritions as well as the committee on Federal Capital Territory to conduct the investigation and report back to it within two weeks.
Presenting his motion earlier, Senator Melaye alleged that the CCB
gave an approval for the revised contract sum for construction of one block of nine-storey building from the originally valued sum of N3.5 billion to N8.7 billion.
He said that the Bureau later abandoned the N8 billion project after it had spent some N1.470 billion it to initiate the process of procuring another N4.4 billion one.
“The Senate is invited to note that the Code of Conduct Bureau, after spending over N1 billion on the construction of the office complex headquarters with complete approval by the FCDA, with design by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and supervision ongoing by the FCT, has opted to purchase a completed nine storey building located in the Central Business District of Abuja just as the abandoned one is also located in the same Business District.
“The Bureau apart from the ongoing construction project of the headquarters, which was evaluated and awarded in the sum of N3,509,327,405, out of which a total sum of N1,407,263,884, so far, representing 16% of the contract sum has been paid while the cumulative job done as at to date is estimated at 10%.
Melaye added that “in spite of the due releases to the Bureau, in the 2016 budget, the Bureau went for the sum of N4.4 billion to buy the nine storey building.
He said it was worrisome that the action of the CCB in the whole exercise is not expected of an institution that is supposed to protect and watch over the finance of the society by checking corrupt practices in the Nigeria Public Service.
Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the session prevented Senators from debating the motion as he argued that any debate on the issue could amount to pre-judgment.
“Distinguished colleagues, I want to advise that since it is still an allegation, if we subject this to debate, it may be prejudicing the outcome of the investigation.
“This Senate recognizes the absolute need for the Bureau to have a befitting office. I think the issue now is whether there is an ongoing project being abandoned in preference to purchasing an existing one. We are here to ensure that public finances are appropriately spent.” He declared.